The Latest: Kansas constitution tops US on abortion rights

April 26, 2019 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion rights and second-trimester procedures (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

The Kansas Supreme Court says the state constitution’s protections for abortion rights are stronger than those offered by the U.S. Constitution.

The court declared for the first time Friday that the Kansas Constitution protects abortion rights. It says the state’s Bill of Rights grants a right to personal autonomy that gives a woman a right to end her pregnancy.

But the court’s majority went further. It said in Kansas, abortion restrictions face strict scrutiny when determining whether they violate the state constitution.

The court said the state must have a compelling interest behind a restriction and keep them narrowly written.

The majority said that is a higher standard than the U.S. Supreme Court’s rule that restrictions cannot place an undue burden on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.


11:50 a.m.

Abortion opponents want to revise the Kansas Constitution after a state Supreme Court ruling protecting abortion rights.

But they were unsure Friday whether they would move immediately to try to put a proposed amendment on the statewide ballot.

The Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion. The decision could allow state courts to invalidate restrictions upheld by the federal courts.

Executive Director Mary Kay Culp said the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life is leaning against an immediate push when the Legislature reconvenes next week to wrap up business for the year. She said the group wants to be as organized as it can be.

Two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers would have to approve a proposed amendment for it to go on the ballot.


9:40 a.m.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled for the first time that the state constitution protects abortion rights and has blocked a first-in-the-nation ban on a common second trimester procedure.

The court’s ruling Friday was a major victory for abortion rights supporters in a state with an anti-abortion Legislature.

It prevents the state from enforcing a 2015 law that could have reduced second-trimester abortions and allows challenges to other restrictions under the state constitution.

The court said language in the Kansas Constitution guaranteeing individual rights protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion independent of the U.S. Constitution. Kansas courts could strike down restrictions that have been upheld by the federal courts.

The decision also stymies the attempt by abortion opponents to outlaw what the law described as “dismemberment abortion.”


5:50 a.m.

Kansas’ highest court is preparing to rule on whether the state constitution protects abortion rights.

The state Supreme Court said it would issue a decision Friday in a lawsuit filed by two abortion providers in 2015 against a Kansas law banning a common second-trimester procedure.

A trial-court judge ruled that the state constitution’s Bill of Rights provides protections for abortion rights that are independent of protections under the U.S. Constitution.

If the Kansas Supreme Court agrees, state courts could invalidate abortion restrictions upheld by the federal courts. Such a decision also would likely spur an attempt from abortion opponents to amend the state constitution.

The law’s fate also is at issue. It was the first of its kind in the nation in 2015 but has yet to be enforced.